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Inverness to Clava Cairns

We will be in Inverness on September 28 and really want to travel to Clava Cairns. We don't want to go on an expensive tour that will include places we don't want to see. We are mostly interested in standing stones and perhaps a castle.
Would it be cheaper to rent a car and try our meager left side driving skills, use a taxi company or try Uber?

Thank you so much in advance.

Posted by
125 posts

I'm not sure about pricing exactly as I've never used Uber, but I will say that I have done this trip by car and it was fairly straightforward, even though I had never driven on the left before. I rented a car in Inverness and did a day trip combining Culloden Battlefield, the Clava Cairns and Cawdor Castle.

One other thing I'll mention is that Clava Cairns isn't all that big and doesn't take very much time to see. If you do rent a car I would definitely look into what else you might want to visit in the area in order to make the cost of renting worthwhile. We spent maybe an hour there and that included having a small picnic lunch. It's beautiful, but not a large area to cover.

Posted by
20 posts

Yes. I really want to see Cawdor Castle. Do you remember how much the rental car cost for one day?

Posted by
631 posts

Clava Cairns https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/clava-cairns/ are 300 yards from Culloden Battlefield, one of the most important sites in Scotland http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Culloden/ please tell me you knew that!!!

Getting there is easy. Local bus route 5 departs Inverness Queensgate (stop A) at 35 minutes past each destination Croy. Also calls at the stop near the entrance to Eastgate Shopping Centre, around the corner from railway station. Get off at the Battlefield. https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.amazonaws.com/Timetables/North%20Scotland/Highlands/TT%20Inverness%20City%20Guide%20from%2024%20April%202017-WEB.pdf ask the driver whether a Dayrider would be cheaper than buying tickets in each direction, round trip should be about £6 per person.

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you so much for the information about the bus!!!
Yes. I did know that. I wasn't sure how far the battlefield is from the Cairns which are the main reason we will be in Inverness.

Now, how do we get to Cawdor Castle?

Posted by
631 posts

nowhere near as easy! If you take the same bus all the way to Croy you have about 4 miles still to walk along a fairly important road. And there is no seperate footway alongside the road. There is a safer route which uses part of the Old Military Road (that's old as in Scottish terms......) but that is nearly 6 miles.

I fear this may need a taxi (or the cheaper "private hire" car). https://www.yell.com/ucs/UcsSearchAction.do?keywords=private+hire&location=Inverness

one that looks interesting simply due to address is "Touristic" - this guy seems to be sat between Culloden and Cawdor and offers tours. UK phone numbers with area codes beginning 07--- are cell phones, so if he's driving he won't answer.

Posted by
125 posts

Sorry, been busy working the past few days, no computer time. :) I looked through some paperwork to see if I could find the cost of the rental car, but that trip was in 2014 and I don't have those records anymore. I do remember that I used Arnold Clark and was able to pick up the car from their Inverness city center location. They also have an office at the Inverness airport that charges an extra "airport pickup fee" so it was cheaper to get in the city center. That office was very close to the train station, so we took a taxi from the train station to get the car and the cost was <5 pounds. Hope that helps.

Posted by
977 posts

We did Culloden, Cawdor Castle and Clava Cairns easily in a day from Inverness with a hire car. Culloden is worth at least 3 hours of your time. The interpretive centre is brilliant. Depending on the weather, walking the battlefield is a haunting experience. Unfortunately we had to cut this experience short, as a force 10 gale was blowing the day we were there. Cafe int he centre is a good spot for lunch. From there we went on to Cawdor Castle. Well worth a visit. Enjoyed a nice devonshire tea there. finished the day visiting the Cairns on route back to Inverness. Lovely view of the Inverness viaduct from the Cairns site. As mentioned it's not a huge site, but well worth visiting.

Posted by
120 posts

We did all you mentioned plus Culloden with our hire car when we were in Inverness and even managed a quick trip to Fort George. It was included in our Historic Scotland Pass. We didn't have time to see all of Fort George after everything else we did that day but it was a quick visit and the views were worth it. We found a dairy farm - cheese manufacturer on the road heading back not far from Fort George that had a cheese plates and tea. It was quiet,local, and a fantastic break after all our running around. The cafe at Culloden looked nice but was packed!

Posted by
61 posts

I went a couple of years ago and did Culloden and Clava Cairns (really really small area), and gave up Cawdor castle to go a down the road the other way past Culloden to Stratpeffer because Castle Leod was open for touring. It is still being lived in by the Chief of Clan Mackenzie and family.

Really impressed by Culloden and the visitors center that is really informative and nicely done.

If you rent a car I don't think you will have much trouble, especially with 2 of you. There isn't that much traffic out that way and roads are in pretty good shape

Posted by
48 posts

I would agree that the roads are easy to navigate by car in that part of the highlands, and that Culloden is well worth your time (and I'm not big into military/war history at all)! I also enjoyed the Leault Working Sheepdogs demonstration nearby. I was able to do all that and a short distillery visit easily all in one day.